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Some History First …
Former Jesuit Michael Walsh explains: “The first time a Bishop of Rome was called ‘Pope’ seems to have been in the third century, and the title was given to Pope Callistus . . . By the end of the fifth century ‘Pope’ usually meant the Bishop of Rome and no one else. It was not until the eleventh century, however, that a Pope could insist that the title applied to him alone.”—An Illustrated History of the Popes. Michael Walsh further explains: “Leo appropriated the once pagan title of Pontifex Maximus, still used by the popes today, and borne, until towards the end of the fourth century, by Roman Emperors.”
Will Durant states: “Celsus [second-century opponent of Christianity] himself had sarcastically observed that Christians were ‘split up into ever so many factions, each individual desiring to have his own party.’ About 187 [C.E.] Irenaeus listed twenty varieties of Christianity; about 384 [C.E.] Epiphanius counted eighty.”—The Story of Civilization: Part III—Caesar and Christ.
Many would argue that the birth of the Catholic Church can be pinpointed at 325 C.E., when Constantine the Great legalized Christianity, which gave the Christians the freedom, out in the open, to compare manuscripts. Nevertheless, After Constantine, Emperor Julian (361-363 C.E.) made an effort to attack and oppose Christianity, seeking to restore paganism. However, he failed miserably, and some 20 years later, Emperor Theodosius I outlawed paganism and made “Christianity” the State religion of the Roman Empire. Moreover, it was not until after the year 440 C.E. that the bishop of the Roman seat of authority, Leo I, became, in reality, the first pope. He was the first Roman bishop, who held the undisputed power over the other three seats of authority into which the Christian world was divided at that time, that is, the Constantinopolitan, the Antiochian and the Alexandrian. Leo I presumptuously stated,
I will revive government once more upon this earth; not by bringing back the Caesars, but by declaring a new theocracy, by making myself the vicegerent of Christ, by virtue of the promise made to Peter, whose successor I am, in order to restore law, punish crime, head off heresy, encourage genius, conserve peace, heal dissensions, protect learning; appealing to love, but ruling by fear. Who but the Church can do this? A theocracy will create a new civilization. Not a diadem, but a tiara will I wear, a symbol of universal sovereignty, before which barbarism shall flee away.”—Beacon Lights of History, Vol. III, pages 244, 245.
Now to the Bible
We were given the Bible by God, not man, as 40+ human authors were moved along by the Holy Spirit, inspired to give us 66 Bible books over a 1,600 year period, the last books (Gospel and three epistles) being written by the apostle John about 98 C.E., two years before his death.
These were JEWISH authors, not Catholics
Right away, copies were made of the Greek NT books. Not Catholic because Catholicism did not exist. Also, early in the second century when there was no Catholocism, translations of the Bible were made: Coptic, Syriac, Gothic, Armenian, Latin, etc. Copies of the Greek NT Manuscripts were made in four religious centers: Western (Rome), Constantinople (Byzantine), Caesarean, and Alexandrian. The best (most accurate) family of manuscripts are the Alexandrian manuscripts, copied long before Catholicism.
Then the church split between Rome and Constantinople, the Byzantine manuscripts became the official standard text, this was because the Byzantine Empire was in control not because those manuscripts were the best. In fact, they were corrupt. Catholicism used the Latin manuscripts.
The Byzantine manuscript would make up the Textus Receptus of the 16th century by Desiderius Erasmus. This would be the foundation of the Protestant Bibles, including the KJV. The Catholic Bibles still using the corrupt Latin Vulgate up unto mid-20th century.
In the 18th and 19th centuries, important manuscripts were discovered from the most accurate Alexandrian family of NT manuscripts. Consequently, in 1881 the Textus Receptus master Greek text of the New Testament, which was used to make Protestant translations for 350 years, was displaced by the Westcott and Hort critical Greek New Testament text. In the early and middle twentieth century, the most important addition to the collection of Biblical papyri was the Chester Beatty Papyri (P45, P46, and P47), and the Bodmer Papyri, published between 1956 and 1961. Particularly noteworthy are (P66 c. 200 C.E.) and (P75 c. 175-225 C.E.), with P75 being textually very close to Vatican Manuscript No. 1209.
This has been the case up until now because …
The Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament critical text and the United Bible Society Greek New Testament text are based on the 1881 Westcott and Hort critical Greek text as their foundation. Before the middle of the 20th century, Catholic translations were often made from Jerome‘s Latin Vulgate text rather than from the original languages. Thus Ronald Knox, the author of what has been called the Knox Bible, wrote: “When I talk about translating the Bible, I mean translating the Vulgate.” (Knox, Ronald Arbuthnott (1949). On Englishing the Bible. Burns, Oates. p. 1.) Thus, neither Protestants or Catholics gave us the Bible. They simply were copyists and translators. Also, the precious corrupted Latin Vulgate was replaced in the twentieth century by the Protestant critical text UBS. Thus, the modern Catholic translations abandoned what Catholics are trying to claim is not corrupt (Latin Vulgate) and replaced it with what Catholics claim to be corrupt (UBS Greek NT).
The Roman Catholic Church insists that they are responsible for the decision as to which books should be added in the Bible canon, in essence giving us the Bible, citing the Council of Carthage (397 C.E.), where a catalog of books was formed. However, this just is not the case, because the canon, including the list of books making up the Greek New Testament, was already established before this Council. In addition, Catholics make the claim that Christians had not seen a complete Bible prior to the end of the fourth century? This too is false.
Codex Vaticanus: 300-325 C.E. It is called Vaticanus simply because that was where it was stored, not because it is Catholic. It contained the complete Bible at one time.
Codex Sinaiticus: 330-360 C.E. It contained the complete Bible at one time.
So, the answer would be no, Catholicism did not give us our Bible. Yes, the Vatican did house some of the best Greek New Testament manuscripts but these were of the Alexandrian family of manuscripts, a long distance from Rome and copied a century before Catholicism got its start. Lastly, of course, the Hebrew Old Testament was being copied by the Jewish scribe-scholars known as the Masoretes.
NOTE: Yes, it is true that some persons in the history of the Bible were Catholics: John Wycliffe (Gave the English translation in Latin), William Tyndale (first printed English Protestant Bible using Erasmus Textus Receptus), Martin Luther (German Bible using the Erasmus Textus Receptus), Desiderius Erasmus (giving us the Textus Receptus). These Reformers never rejected Catholicism per se but rather rejected the doctrines and abuses of the Catholic Church. Nevertheless, they are the founders of the Reformation and Protestantism. Except for John Wycliffe, their Bibles are Protestant. So, yes, rebel Catholics, who rejected the very essence of Catholicism before Protestantism existed, played a role in giving us Protestant Bibles. Yes, we know these men as Protestants, not Catholics. And the Catholic Church rejects these men. Final answer, God gave us the Bible, not man.
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